Stan Lester Developments
education and training systems
Professional qualifications in the
conservation of cultural heritage
This site contains information on qualification developments managed by the Institute of Conservation (Icon), the UK professional body for the conservation of material heritage.
Related journal articles and reports
Institute of Conservation (external site)
ACR is the professional qualification (qualified status) for conservators in the UK. ACR status is based on the ability to practise to a proficient and ethical standard, and it is awarded following a rigorous professional practice assessment (the PACR process). Further details of the assessment process, including professional standards, application documents and guidance, are on the Icon PACR site. The 2007 professional standards are also available here.
Stan Lester’s article “Putting conservation’s professional qualification into context” (The Conservator, vol 31, pp5-15, 2008) discusses some of the points raised in the 2007 review and locates PACR in the context of other professional qualifying processes and qualification frameworks.
The Conservation Technician Qualification (CTQ) is a work-based certificate for people who undertake basic conservation tasks and provide technical support to conservators. The full qualification is designed for people working in a conservation technician or assistant role, while individual units from it can be taken by those whose work involves specific conservation activities or tasks as part of their job or voluntary role. The qualification was developed by a group of major employers in the cultural heritage sector with the support of the Institute of Conservation (Icon) and the backing of Creative & Cultural Skills. The CTQ was trialled with 17 employers and 40 candidates between 2007-10, and was formally launched by Icon in 2012. Discussions are currently being held to identify if the CTQ can be incorporated into a wider suite of cultural heritage qualifications.
Candidates for the CTQ need to be working (employed, contracted or voluntarily) for an organisation that is a partner in the CTQ consortium with Icon. Candidates can register for the full qualification, or decide to work towards individual units or groups of units. To date most candidates have entered with at least some of the experience needed to complete the qualification, but it could equally be used alongside a structured training scheme for new entrants or for those applying related skills in a conservation context.
Further details are on the Icon CTQ page.
This is a schematic diagram showing progression through the UK (E,W&NI) qualification levels in conservation.
Download or view (pdf file).
ECCO Competences for Access to the Conservation-Restoration Profession
ECCO have produced a competence map for the profession. Unfortunately it is only available in printed form: see the links below.
View introduction and ordering details (ECCO web site)
Hutchings & Corr 2011 – article explaining the development and rationale behind the map (pdf file)
Comments on the ECCO competences document (pdf file)
The following articles by Stan Lester are all in pdf format and under 100kb.
“The Conservation Technician Qualification: an employer-led development,” Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 14 (1), 43-55 (2009)
“Putting conservation’s professional qualification in context,” The Conservator 31, 5-15 (2008)
“Becoming a profession: conservation in the UK," Journal of the Society of Archivists 23 (1), 87-94 (2002)
“The Professional Accreditation of Conservator-Restorers: developing a competence-based professional assessment system," Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 24 (4), 411-423 (2000)
“Professional bodies, CPD and informal learning: the case of conservation," Continuing Professional Development 2 (4), 110-121 (1999).
ACR/PACR in context
The qualifying process and standards in conservation are discussed in the following papers on professional standards and entry-routes:
Association and self-regulation in smaller UK professions, Avista Press (2014)
“Professional versus occupational perspectives on work competence”, Research in Post-Compulsory Education 19 (3), 276–286 (2014)
“Professional standards, competence and capability”, Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning 4 (1), 31-43 (2014)
“Professional competence standards and frameworks in the UK”, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 39 (1), 38-52 (2014)
“Routes to qualified status: practices and trends among UK professional bodies,” Studies in Higher Education 34 (2), 223-236 (2009).